Work ‘gig economy’ set to be worth £2bn in the UK by 2020 – PwC research

Published at 00:01 AM on 01 December 2015

PwC research projects that the connected work market – work aspects of the gig economy, where people buy and sell services and jobs via online platforms – will be worth almost $63bn globally and £2bn in the UK by 2020.

PwC estimates that the connected work market, made up of professional networking platforms, freelancing platforms, remote working apps and global web conferencing platforms, currently only makes up 2% of the total recruitment market. PwC says the growth potential of this market is huge as the number of people working flexibly, part-time and on contracts is set to rise over the next five years.

PwC’s report ‘The Future of Work’ shows that nearly half (46%) of HR professionals expect at least 20% of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers by 2020. And nearly a third (31%) of businesses say they are building their future talent strategy around the rise of the portfolio career, hiring a diverse mix of people on an ad-hoc basis.

One of the scenarios in PwC’s report is a world in which big businesses are outflanked by a vibrant, innovative and entrepreneurial middle market, which is powered by connected work technology. These companies have a core team that embodies their philosophy and values, and they use the connected work market technology to source the rest of their workforce on a project basis, as a when they are needed.

Jon Andrews, head of PwC’s global people & organisation practice at PwC, said:

“The world of work is changing. Contract work is in many cases trumping full-time, permanent roles for people due to the flexibility, autonomy and control it offers. People are increasingly using the technology of the connected work market to dictate where and when they work, and for who.

“In five years, we could easily see a world of work where people are more likely to see themselves as members of a particular skill or professional network, than as an employee of a specific company.

“This new technology is helping businesses to become more agile, fill their skills gap and respond to market disruptors.

“However, the rise of the gig economy does raise questions about workplace protection in the future – such as pensions, benefits, healthcare. How will this be provided and how will employers look after a workforce that could be very transitional in nature?”


Notes to editor:

1. For more information on PwC’s research on the connected work market, part of PwC’s wider My Life, Connected research, please visit:
2. For more information of PwC’s ‘The Future of Work’ research, please visit


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